Career Success

You can approach a job in one of two ways: 1) Do the minimum expected to not get fired. 2) Do the maximum possible and massively exceed what’s expected. Keep this thought in mind for a few seconds as I introduce a different concept (then integrate the two). There are two ways to think about [...]

In any company, there are broad categories of power. One is formal authority. The other is influence. When you lead an organization of 500 employees, you have formal authority. Your 500 employees will listen to you because you have the power to fire them if they don’t. That’s formal authority. When you’re so deeply respected [...]

In my 20s, my mental orientation was on the here and now. I counted time in months and years. In my 40s, my mental orientation has taken on a much wider timescale. I spend as much time thinking about the past and future as I do the present. In many respects, they are one and [...]

A few years before I was born, humankind achieved a remarkable feat. We landed a human being on the moon. The lunar module spacecraft used for the lunar landing mission had a mere 4 kilobytes of memory and weighed 70 lb (32 kg). Today, I have an iPhone in my pocket that has 268,435,456 kilobytes [...]

No organization is perfect. The world changes constantly and it’s impossible to pursue all the right opportunities with all the right resources at the exact right times. Gaps always exist. I’ve made an entire career out of “filling” gaps, and I think you should too. Let me explain. A market gap exists when customers demand [...]

In the United States, there’s a historical quote attributed to President Abraham Lincoln that says: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” The quote refers to the important role of proper preparation for any endeavor. I was thinking about this quote a few [...]

When I was at McKinsey, fact-based, well-reasoned logic was prized. It didn’t matter if you were in your 15th year at McKinsey or your first 15 days, the person with the logical conclusion ruled the day. I remember being repeatedly told that if I had the logical conclusion demonstrating that the Partner’s thinking was wrong, [...]

Most people know of Google’s exceptional skill in hiring a bunch of rocket scientists to deliver incredibly useful search engine search results. Recently, they decided to data mine their own employee reviews and promotions database. The goal was to quantitatively determine what factors got people promoted in Google to become managers and leaders within the [...]

Ask five people who know you (but not too well) what the first words are that come to mind when they hear your name. If you were one of my five people, I would ask you, “When you hear my name, Victor Cheng, what’s the first word or words that come to mind?” Then listen. [...]

Most new entrepreneurs are enamored with product ideas. “I have a new idea for a product,” “a service,” or increasingly, “an app.” You hear this at cocktail parties all the time. When someone says they have a new business idea, they are almost always referring to a new product idea. But, those who actually run [...]

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